15th Jun 2013 No Comments »
A study from Australia shows that applying sunscreen to exposed skin most days will reduce the signs of aging. Ever since the report was released, the media has continually repeated the mantra: wear your sunscreen. But, is wearing sunscreen the healthiest thing you can do for your body?
Most skin cancers are only partially related to sun exposure. And while sunscreen sales are approaching $1 billion a year, skin cancer rates continue to climb.1
The truth is that we need some sunlight to keep us healthy, and there are ways to get some rays and still protect our skin.
Why we need sunlight
When you wear sunscreen all day every day, you block out your essential daily dose of vitamin D. This essential nutrient strengthens teeth and bones, keeps muscles strong, and helps you grow. Sunlight also helps stimulate hormones that balance your sleep/wake cycles, hunger, and happiness. Without vitamin D, you’re at risk for getting brittle bones, rickets, depression, and worse.
While you can get vitamin D from some fortified foods, the absolute best source is from the sun.
How to get healthy doses of sun? Here are 3 simple tips:
Expose: Spend about 20 minutes per day outside without sunscreen. You want your body to absorb the sun’s rays, so you have to be unprotected. But if you do this in the morning or later in the afternoon (not midday), the sun will be weaker.
Protect: You can “eat” your sunscreen. Not the lotion, silly. Increase your intake of antioxidants. Astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant, protects against sun damage.2 Start taking an astaxanthin supplement as soon as you can, as it takes a few weeks for the internal sunscreen effect to start working.
Research: Don’t just use any old sunscreen you have in your medicine cabinet. Many of the common ones have toxic chemicals in them that can actually increase your risk for certain cancers! The Environmental Working Group’s website has a good list of healthier sunscreen brands.3
Beware of labels. Just because the Skin Cancer Foundation gives a brand its “seal of approval” doesn’t mean that it’s good for your body – the seal is only given to manufacturers who have donated $10,000 to become a member of the organization.
How much do you expose yourself to the sun?
30th Apr 2013 No Comments »
Mom was right when she said, “Eat your greens!” They are nutritional powerhouses that are high in fiber and low in calories. Here are 4 reasons why I love to eat leafy greens, and encourage you to eat them, too:
Cleansing: The chlorophyll they contain acts as a powerful blood cleanser, helping to neutralize toxins such as heavy metals, chemicals, and pesticides. Of course, choose organic greens to ensure that you’re not adding more pesticides and chemicals to your system!
Improves digestion: The liver is one of the body’s main organs of digestion and metabolism. The liver loves leafy greens because they help it make digestive enzymes and give it nutrients to repair itself. This will, in turn, help improve your digestion and get more nutrients out of your food.
Boosts metabolism: In the same vein as the prior tip, when the liver is working at its peak, it will metabolize your food better, and be able to eliminate waste more efficiently. When this happens, your body will be able to burn fat instead of storing it.
Younger-looking skin: Rich in antioxidants in the forms of vitamin A, C, and K, these nutrients help repair damaged cells, making your skin look younger and more fresh. Try a green challenge – eat greens 3 times per day – and see if you notice a difference in the way your skin looks.
What’s your favorite type of leafy greens?
21st Nov 2012 No Comments »
I’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude this week since it’s the topic of the moment (other than Black Friday, which we’ll not get into right now…)
Thankfulness is a good year-round activity, but it’s not usually talked about until mid-November, at least in the U.S. It’s something that I teach in my cleanse classes because it actually help you get healthier.
Psychological studies have shown that starting a gratitude practice can make you feel up to 25% happier, and within a few weeks, help you feel more energized and sleep better.
But you don’t need studies to tell you this. All you need to do is practice.
So what makes you grateful? You might not know right away. I didn’t really until I started writing it down.
Why journal about gratitude?
I’ve been journaling since I was a kid, but a few years ago my journaling practice changed dramatically. Instead of always writing out my worries or about any drama in my life, I started a gratitude journal.
Every day, at the end of the day, I wrote down a list of 5 things that made me feel grateful. At first I had a hard time coming up with things day after day. But the more I dug into this concept, the more appreciative I became of everyday things that I would normally take for granted – like a sunny day, or a nice cup of tea, or a brand new notebook.
Appreciate life even more and you’ll get more life to appreciate
I didn’t realize this until practicing regularly, but the more you appreciate every thing in your life, the more life you have to appreciate. Practicing gratitude allows you to see the wonder and beauty and gift in everything that you have. You feel lighter and happier. It’s easier to smile for no reason. And your worries start dropping away from you.
It even allows you to transform those things that feel less than perfect into something that you can appreciate to some degree. I’m not saying that everything becomes perfect, but you’re feeling more positive in general, so upsets don’t upset you so much.
Do you have a gratitude practice? Will you start one? Let me know in the comments.
12th Nov 2012 1 Comment »
Holiday drinks are usually calorie bombs, filled with heavy cream or loads of refined sugar. Wassail is traditionally a hot mulled cider from Northern Europe. This version has an American twist to it, adding in cranberries, which are native to North America.
As I’m doing research for a little Kindle book that I’m writing (yay! I’m finally getting my books out there!) I wanted to put together some delicious holiday recipes made over with healthier ingredients. This version uses natural sweetening from honey and stevia. Plus, if you have time, try using fresh lemon juice instead of the bottled kind – it will taste brighter.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
1 quart local apple cider
1 quart unsweetened cranberry juice
½ cup lemon juice
1 cup pineapple juice
1 large orange, thinly sliced
12 whole cloves
½ cup raw honey
12 drops liquid stevia (more to taste)
1 cinnamon sticks
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
6 fresh mint leaves
6 orange slices
In a large pot, combine cider, cranberry juice, lemon juice, pineapple juice, orange slices, cloves, honey, stevia, and cinnamon sticks. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer; add nutmeg, ginger, and allspice. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve warm and garnish each cup with mint and an orange slice.
22nd Oct 2012 1 Comment »
It’s soup season again. Last night I made the most delicious soup from scratch. I used pastured chicken parts that I had saved when I cut up whole chickens for roasting. I usually save the backs, wing tips, and necks to make stock since they don’t have much meat for eating.
Pastured chicken has a lot more flavor on its own than conventional chicken. But there’s always room to add more flavor and health benefits. Here are some of the health benefits of the ingredients in today’s soup:
Coconut: The coconut oil that I used to brown the chicken has antiviral and antibacterial properties.
Turmeric: A natural antiseptic and antibacterial, Turmeric powder is super spice that can cure just about anything – I love it and try to add it in to most of my savory dishes.
Rosemary: High in antioxidants, rosemary is good for the immune system, increasing circulation and improving digestion.
Sage: Also high in antioxidants, sage boosts brain functioning and contains compounds similar to those developed in modern drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
Ingredients – Broth:
- 4-5 leftover raw chicken parts – backs, wing tips, necks, etc. – trimmed from a whole chicken
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp rosemary
- ½ tsp sage
- 2 tsp salt
Brown chicken parts in a heavy cast-iron pot – cover and let simmer until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Add 6-8 cups water and let simmer for another 30 minutes. As you let the base simmer, you can prepare your veggies.
Add these veggies:
- 4-5 garlic cloves, sliced
- 3 carrots, sliced
- 2 parsnips, diced
- 2 leeks, sliced into half moons and rinsed well
- 1 potato, diced
Remove chicken parts from broth and pull whatever meat you can from the bones. Add the meat back into the soup. Cook until veggies are soft, about 20-30 minutes. Serve and enjoy.
8th Oct 2012 No Comments »
On Friday, I was without a jacket, and today I’m digging in my drawers for sweaters. While I don’t love it when the weather turns colder, like it did this weekend, I do enjoy making soups. I think it’s because soup was the first thing that I learned how to cook that required more than 5 ingredients. Once I realized how easy it was to make one that tasted deliciously fresh – unlike the oversalted, metallic canned ones that I was used to – I was hooked.
I made this one from dried beans cooked in a pressure cooker. But if you’re in a rush or just don’t have the right equipment, you can use canned beans as long as you rinse them after opening. Go for the higher quality brands, too. Many cans are lined with BPA, which can disrupt our delicate hormone balance.
- 2 ½ cups white beans
- 4-6 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 carrots, chopped into half moons
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 parsnips, diced or 1 chayote, cubed (optional)
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- ¼ tsp pepper or more to taste
- 1 tsp salt or more to taste
- 1 tsp oil – coconut or olive
- 1 bunch leafy greens of choice, rinsed and chopped
- Heat a large pan over medium high heat and add oil. Saute carrots, celery, parsnips, onion, garlic and spices. Let cook over medium heat until they start to soften and brown.
- Add the white beans and stock. Cover and let simmer for 15-20 minutes until all vegetables cooked.
- At the end, add in leafy greens. Cook a few minutes until they are wilted but still bright green.
I’m writing my first recipe book! What kinds of recipes do you want?
19th Sep 2012 No Comments »
Our thoughts are one of the most powerful ways to attract what we want – whether it’s to lose weight, attract more money, fall in love with your soul mate, get the dream job, take a fantasy vacation, or anything that you desire. The trouble is that our thoughts usually attract the opposite of what we desire. How do you change this? Here’s a simple way to start.
Are you choosing powerful thoughts?
We have control over what we think and believe – or at least, we have the power to control our thoughts. However, most of the time, we are on automatic pilot allowing whatever thoughts arise to exist without questioning them.
There’s been a lot written on the mind-body connection and the power of positive thinking. If we have the power to change to more powerful thoughts, why don’t we do it?
Part of it is being out of practice about questioning our thoughts.
How to practice powerful thinking
One practice that I’ve started this week (at least for a couple of days) is when thoughts arise to ask, “Who does this belong to?”
By asking this question, I start to identify which beliefs are mine and which ones are from other people. When I can see that many thoughts are not my own, it’s easy to let them go and allow more supportive thinking in.
What do you do to change your thinking? Let me know if you try this experiment and how it works for you in the comments.
17th Sep 2012 No Comments »
If you want to accomplish anything in your life – whether it’s getting healthier, getting the job of your dreams, meeting your true love, making a fortune, becoming a bestselling author – you have to focus on the steps that will get you there first.
I’ve found that the best way to stay focused is to make sure that I’m feeling great. Taking care of myself first helps me stay focused on the bigger picture. To do this, I start my day with rituals.
Getting into the zone
I meditate for about 15 minutes. This helps me get into the right frame of mind and makes me feel amazingly calm and relaxed, especially when I’m in a whirlwind of activity. Right now, I’m using the guided meditations from Esther and Jerry Hicks – Getting into the Vortex. I recommend picking up a copy on Amazon if you want to try it out.
Sorting through my thoughts
Then I either journal or work out. With journaling, I clear away any chatter and I also get clarity on questions that have been percolating in my mind. With exercising, I get a similar kind of mind clearing, plus I get healthier. I work out about 3-4 days per week. If I know that I won’t be able to exercise in the morning for a few days, I’ll make sure to do something active in the evening.
Fuel up healthfully
I make sure to have some breakfast, even if it’s something light. I tend to get hungry in the morning, and it makes more sense for me to eat at home than to deny my hunger and try to make it to lunch. I’ve found that delaying eating means that I’ll over eat at other meals.
Lately, I’ve been eating fresh fruit with nuts or smoothies that I use in my cleanse program – they’re light yet filling and I feel good until lunch.
What are your rituals? How can you start adding them in to make your day more productive? Let me know in the comments
My next cleanse class will help you get on track with your eating AND give you lots of tools to accomplish all of your goals and make a positive mindset shift.
Join me for a free teleclass on Tuesday, September 18 at 8pm to learn all about cleansing.
Shed the pounds and double your energy: Sign up for my next cleanse class right here!
14th Sep 2012 No Comments »
Vacation is that it never seems to be long enough. And yet, when you get to the relaxation saturation point, after a while you say, “that’s enough.”
But what if you could go on a relaxation vacation every day? What I mean is, what if you could bring that feeling to your everyday live so you’re not clawing your way to your vacation?
That’s what I’m trying to create in my daily life.
The side benefit of this practice is that I will also be healthier, probably less likely to catch colds, and likely to effortlessly shed any excess pounds still clinging to me.
How I’m bringing relaxation into each day
What I noticed about being away was the sense of being in the moment. I had nowhere to go and nothing to do. I could have an agenda, but it didn’t matter if I did or not.
And at first, it took me a while to relax. I felt like I had to be “doing” something. But it was only because I forgot that I’m a human “being” not a human “doing.”
In my daily life, I act more like a human “doing.” It feels hard to slow down. But the truth is that if I make space to slow down, and just be, I can get so much more done in so little time.
So, what I’m doing now is practicing being by meditating for 15 minutes per day. I have been out of practice, so I’m using a guided meditation. Being guided can be easier, because every time your mind wanders off, the guided meditation can help bring it back.
I have been listening to the Getting Into the Vortex: Guided Meditations from Esther and Jerry Hicks. So far, I have noticed that my mind is really restless, but one day I was able to get totally focused and calm. It felt amazing.
If you want to try it out, you can pick up a copy on Amazon. And if you do, let me know how it works for you by leaving me a comment.
11th Sep 2012 No Comments »
Today we remember and honor those who were lost in the terrorist attacks in 2001.
In New York, almost everyone has their own 9/11 story. This one’s mine, and it was the beginning of my path to wellness.
I’ll tell you the rest in the next video.